John Charles Eek

May 5, 1924 – May 26, 2015

John Charles “Johnny” Eek passed away on May 26, 2015, at his home in Rock Creek. His wife Margaret, with whom he had recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, had just tucked him into bed and was by his side. A friend to all he met, Johnny is survived by his four children Susan (Al), Dale (Wendy), Duane (Joanne) and Donald (Shannon); his daughter-in-law Lynn; his sisters Kory, Ruth and Marg; 14 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his sisters Carol and Dora and brother Arthur, his daughter-in-law Susan, and his grandson Scott.

Johnny was born in Alberta on May 5, 1924. His family moved to B.C. soon after, and he lived in the Rock Creek area for 89 of his 91 years. He ranched, farmed, logged and sawmilled, proud to be a cowboy and proud to be country. He loved working with his horse and cattle – usually with a dog at his side – but he was always there to help a neighbour or volunteer in the community. He attended the United Church, was a leader of the Boundary “A” 4-H Club, and a member of the Elks, Farmers Institute, Medical Clinic and Kettle River Horse Club. He was made a Lifetime Member of the Rock Creek Fall Fair for his service to that organization since 1946. Though not one for much talking, Johnny greeted everyone with a warm smile and friendly manner. He was also known for his sly sense of humour. After retiring, he wrote cowboy poetry, full of funny observations and stories about the things he’d seen and people he knew. He shared his poems at the Fall Fair and Cowboy Campfires, and festivals as far away as Cedar City, Utah. In 2004, the Kettle River Writers Cauldron published a book of his poems, Cowboy Poetry and Wisdom from Boundary Country.

He and Margaret were square dancers for over 50 years, and he played fiddle, banjo, guitar and harmonica. He would often pick up an instrument to add music to a gathering or to “jam” with friends. In 2005 he got to visit the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville during a family trip to Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and a ticket mix-up resulted in getting a backstage tour of the Opry and meeting Porter Wagoner, one of his country music idols. He even got to play a few notes on the Ryman stage. It was a highlight of a life happily spent at the home and farm he built with his sweetheart beside the Kettle River. To his family, he was Grandpa, warm and patient, who had a special affection for the “little fellers” and who doled out sweets along with nuggets of his particular brand of “horse sense” wisdom.

A memorial service for Johnny Eek will be held at the Rock Creek Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 20, 2015, at 2 p.m. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association or the charity of your choice. Condolences and tributes may be directed to the family by visiting Arrangements entrusted to Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium, Oliver & Osoyoos.

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